The Fast and the Furious series will confuse the heck out you if you watched the first film and then skipped to the last one – it hardly makes sense. The story has gone from low-level criminals to the characters now saving the world a bunch of times.
While the premise is ridiculous (although it is undeniably fun), another thing hard to understand about the series is the timeline. Fans noted how the death of one particular character went ignored in sequels that followed, and The Fast and the Furious took further liberties by bringing in some other supposed plot holes into the mix with its chronology. If you want to clear all that up, then you need to check out the proper order as far as the storyline is concerned. Below are the films arranged from the beginning of the timeline to the end.
10 The Fast And The Furious
The first film kicked the series off in a style that is described as “crime action”. The story focused on Brian O’Conner, a cop who goes undercover into the street life to infiltrate a group of car hijackers. This is where the core characters made their first appearances, and it’s a stark difference to how they turned out in later movies.
The plot is much quieter than what Fast fans are used to these days, with most of the action centering around the cars and the burgeoning friendship between Brian and Dom; Brian also falls for Dom’s sister in the process. The ending sets up both Dom and Brian for their next appearances as they go their separate ways.
9 The Turbo-Charged Prelude For 2 Fast 2 Furious
2 Fast 2 Furious’ version of Brian confused many viewers, as he was shown to be a criminal himself by then; this is why Turbo Charged Prelude was made. It’s a short film showing how Brian went on the run from the police due to letting Dom get away.
It bridges the gap between The Fast and the Furious and the sequel, and it’s worth a watch to put things in the beginning of the sequel in proper context. You also get to see Brian on his own for once, which is something that never happened again.
8 2 Fast 2 Furious
The later film films kept mentioning how Brian and Roman were childhood friends, but never really showed us anything. 2 Fast 2 Furious is where you see these two share the screen in a complete buddy film. Unlike other Fast films, this one is more of an action comedy, and also introduces Tej into the series. The plot involves Brian and Roman reconciling after a past dispute and attempting to clear their records.
It also sets the stage for Brian to begin his days as a criminal, which we fully get into later on. Fans should take note of this film if they’re fans of Roman and Tej, because they don’t appear for a while after this one.
7 Los Bandoleros
It’s another short film, but is crucial for you to watch to understand how Fast & Furious and Tokyo Drift’s plots come together. This short introduces (in chronology) Han, who had a main role in the third film and his association with Dom was unknown then.
Another crucial point this film brings together is the rekindling of the romance between Dom and Letty. If you’ve watched Fast & Furious, you’ll know how important their relationship is, and Los Bandoleros is where we see them getting back together. Of course, the most important thing about this film is the fact that we finally learn where the heck Dom went after The Fast and the Furious.
6 Fast & Furious
After watching 2 Fast 2 Furious and Los Bandoleros, you’ll be up to date with where the chronology is with Brian and Dom. The former is shown to have become an FBI agent now that his record has been cleared, and Dom continues with hijacking fuel tankers.
It is with this film that the series started straying away from the cars and more into action-oriented territory, as the story had Dom in a quest for revenge after Letty’s supposed murder. Han was shown to be alive here, and this is where people became confused what the timeline really was. Fast & Furious became the first of three films which would be midquels to the series.
5 Fast Five
As far as impact on chronology is considered, the film’s most integral aspect is Dom beginning a romance with Elena Neves; Han would be the factor for fans to gauge where the timeline was again, since he also began relationship with Giselle (whose existence had been teased in Tokyo Drift). Of course, 2 Fast 2 Furious’ significance also came into play with the return of Roman and Tej.
4 Fast & Furious 6
Completing the story for Han prior to Tokyo Drift was Fast and Furious 6, and we reached the final movie of the three midquels in the series. If you watch the films in complete chronological order, then you’ll be in for a sad surprise as Gisele meets her end here, which serves as the motivation for Han to move to Tokyo and finish the gaps in chronology.
The film is also important for Furious 7 moviegoers, as we see Dom fighting the antagonist of this story, whose familial relationships have big impacts later on. Finally, Letty’s return fixed a plot confusion from Fast & Furious, and her survival in the film is shown. One thing to note about the timeline, though, is that this is where the pregnancy of Elena started.
3 The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift
Ah yes, the movie that left everyone befuddled for all of nine years. Released in 2006, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift was a complete departure from the series’ storyline, that is, until we saw Dom at the very end. Dom would claim Han was family to him, which told fans that a lot had happened between his departure in the first film and his arrival here.
Han’s living status in the subsequent three films would signal to us that Tokyo Drift remained in the future for this universe and this story had little to do with the overall arc. However, Furious 7 would explain an extremely important detail about Han’s death.
2 Furious 7
After nine long years, we finally crossed Tokyo Drift’s timeline, although Furious 7 began before the former’s events. All the plot holes were fixed with this film’s release, with the uncertainty of Shaw’s attack on Han also having a definite time to be placed within the chronology, as he sought revenge for what the heroes did to his brother in Fast & Furious 6.
Interestingly, this was the first film we saw Luke Hobbs in the chronological present (although he barely had a role in the story), with the character showing up in the final fight. Those who’ve watched the next movie will have their eye on Elena’s status, seeing as she didn’t look even slightly pregnant during these events.
1 The Fate Of The Furious
By this point, Brian and Mia were shown to have retired quite a while ago, and the heroes were back in the US on a permanent basis. The one gripe about the timeline of Elena’s pregnancy was both brought up and put to rest here, with Dom learning he had fathered a child with her.
The film’s story plays straight this time, with no confusion over where it is set in chronology. The movie did highlight just how ridiculously far away the series had strayed from the initial plot, as former car fuel hijacker Dom and his crew were now evidently teamed with special forces to stop nuclear launch codes. The stage is set here for Hobbs and Shaw, with both these characters developing a bromance that will be explored in their solo film.